The Sea Creatures and Coral Cays at Hastings Reef

When exploring the Great Barrier Reef, it’s likely you’ll get to experience a selection of reefs that form this incredible natural wonder. Spanning thousands of kilometres and promising a diverse selection of animal and sea life, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most popular diving attractions.

The Hastings Reef is one of the better-known reefs in the region, boasting an eclectic collection of colourful fish, ancient coral, and spectacular views.

Set 30 nautical miles out from the bustling city of Cairns, the reef dates back 15,000 years to the last ice age. Here, corals thrive in their surroundings because they are set well away from the coast and, therefore, avoid the pull and push of the rivers and streams that enter into the Great Barrier Reef.

Hastings Reef forms a popular spot for divers and snorkelers of all levels and abilities. The clear water here means you can spot some of the Great Barrier Reef’s best-loved creatures and learn more about their habitat and environment.

On most days in the Hastings Reef, a line of breakers marks where the reef meets the deeper ocean beyond, causing swells to break on the reef wall. When you explore the reef itself, you’ll noticed it is shallow on top with relatively steep sides – almost like a cliff falling away into the water that surrounds it.

Most diving tours will take you to the calmer side of the reef, where you can get up close and personal with the mesmerising array of sea creatures that call it home. As well as exploring the coral caves, coral overhangs, coral canyons, and shallow coral bays, you’ll also be able to see some of the residents.

Keep your eyes peeled for colourful parrot fish, ancient sea turtles that glide through the water, giant clams, friendly reef sharks, butterfly fish, and numerous other species of fish, shark, and mollusc.

If you’re lucky enough, you might even be able to see Wally, the friendly giant maori wrasse.

Hastings Reef is perfect for divers of all abilities thanks to its shallow coral formations and its abundance of sea life. Not only can you glide amongst some of the ocean’s oldest creatures, but you can learn all about the history and environmental changes of this spectacular part of the world, and learn more about its residents – well-worth a visit for any diving enthusiast or sea lover.

Visit the Hastings Reef on our Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tour.

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